Отличительные черты английского и американского сленга (на английском языке)

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Дата создания 05 октября 2014
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В работе рассмотрены основные аспекты сленга как изобразительно-выразительного средства английского языка, мы освещены основные этапы развития сленга в рамках истории английской языковой культуры. Особое внимание уделяется вопросу образования новых сленговых слов и выражений. ...



1.1. History of slang
1.2. The principles of slang vocabulary organization
1.2.1 Slang languages
1.2.2. Methods of slang word building
2.1. History of slang
2.2. The principles of slang vocabulary organization
2.2.1 Slang languages
2.2.2. Methods of slang word building


Slang could be enlisted as one of the constantly growing branches of modern English. We consider slang as an expressive means of English language an essentially important area of research because it has not been studied well enough yet. However, the interest in the problem is rising, but still there are only a few authors who have conducted a detailed research. Besides as English has become an international language it became a source of adopting new words for other languages.

The object of our research was American and British slang languages as it has become a sort of international language for the social group, which is the most responsive to any kind of linguistic changes – the youth.

The aim of our research is to study the main principles of development of modern English slang lan guage and the changes which it undergoes.

Throughout the research we had certain goals. The first one was to take a look at the history of slang language to see how long has the slang itself existed. Secondly we wanted to see ways slang expressions are formed in order to understand better how slang could maintain its inconsistency and changeability.

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Another famous example of slang language, which is still in use, is Cockney rhyming slang which was first used by workers in London. In this type of slang a given word is replaced by another word or phrase that rhymes with it. For example, ‘strife’ for ‘wife’, ‘apples and pears’ for ‘stairs’, etc. Occasionally the rhymes themselves are abbreviated and the process continues. For example, ‘bottle and glass’ for ‘ass’ was reduced to ‘bottle’, for which new rhyme ‘Aristotle’ was found. ‘Aristotle was then reduced to ‘Aris’ for which ‘plaster of Paris’ became a rhyme, which was reduced as well and I known now as ‘plaster’. [режим доступа : http://en.allexperts.com]Back slang is more is a form of slang when words are reversed, for example, ‘ecaf’ instead of ‘face’ and ‘riah’ instead of ‘hair’.[режим доступа : www.bbc.co.uk] There could be different variations of back slang, due to different approaches to the word building processes. The words could be reversed by letters or by syllables. However, this slang language is more popular in other languages, like French, for example, rather than in English.For many people slang is a way to express their individuality. Hence, slang is really popular among adolescents. Children usually encounter an ability to develop their own secret languages in order to have fun or so that adults will not understand them. Pig Latin is the most famous example of such kind of slang language. There is no standard of Pig Latin, but usually when a word begins with one or several consonants they are moved to the end of the word and a syllable ‘ay’ is added. If a word starts with a vowel sound nothing changes except for the ‘yay’ syllable, which is added at the end. For example a sentence ‘Today is a lovely day’ in Pig Latin would look like: ‘Odaytay isyay ayay ovleylyay aydyay’. As mentioned before, Pig Latin is mostly popular among children, but is also occasionally used by adults when they need to discuss something serious and they do not want little children to hear that. Or in a situation when traveling in the country where locals have no problems understanding English and English speaking tourists want to keep their dialogue in secret. There are certain phenomenon which position on the language scale are not quite clear. For example, the language spoken by inhabitants of southern states of the USA is often called ‘redneck’. On one hand it is a dialect, because the meaning of the words are still the same, thus they are pronounced in a slightly different way, for example ‘y’all’ instead of ‘you all’, ‘ain’t’ instead of combination ‘to be not’. However on the other hand there are some new words which could not sound anything like the original variant of standard English, such as ‘hoowdee’ instead of ‘hello’, and ‘over yonder’ used to describe something distant. Such new expressions are accepted and understood only by those who live in the South in order to show how they are different from the Northerners (‘yankees’). Its use was started by poorly educated people, which preferred to work on the land rather than to dedicate themselves to intellectual development. This indicates the traits of the slang languages. We believe that languages like the example above are some kind of blended language, which illustrate how close the standard and slang language exist in modern English. The methods of slang word buildingAfter taking a close look at the slang language systems and slang expressions that exist in present time we came to a conclusion that there are three major ways how words become slang: metaphorical, abbreviation, borrowing, and alternation. Metaphorical. During this slang building process words which were already known before gain a new meaning. Slang does not necessarily include only some kind of special secret words and neologisms. Slang also includes some expressions which were considered so for a reasonably long time. For example word ‘quid’ means a piece of pressed tobacco for chewing. However, it is more often used with a different connotation – ‘a pound sterling’ (or an euro in new British slang). [Bullard режим доступа : www.uncp.edu] The brightest quality of English slang is its wide use of metaphors. Many words can be given a slang connotation if used in an inappropriate meaning. For example: “He might be a floppy disc during the day but you should see him dance.” (Computer users call this way a studious, bookish person). It also illustrate how easily new slang words are born. A word used accidentally used in an inappropriate context might immediately get the new meaning and would be used as slang in that particular company. Metaphorical is a very natural way to form new slangisms since one of the original functions of slang was to take place for something that has a taboo on it. Such kind of slang expressions used to be most popular in such areas as sex, drugs, crime, etc. For example, ‘nuts’ or ‘family jewels’ are words usually used to indicate testicles, ‘grass’ –for marijuana, etc. It often happens so that the new meaning of the word is contradictory to the original one. For example, ‘wicked’ and ‘evil’ gained a slang connotation of something great, excellent. [режим доступа : www.slangsity.com]A lot of times words that are not commonly used in modern English become slang after appearing in certain situations. An example for that would be the word ‘glib’. The usual meaning of this adjective given by The American Heritage Dictionary is: “Performed with a natural, offhand ease, showing little thought, preparation, or concern; marked by ease and fluency of speech or writing that often suggests or stems from insincerity, superficiality, or deceitfulness.”[Houghton Muffin 1994 : 218] It is not a word that is commonly used in modern American English. In fact most of Americans do not have a least clue about its meaning. However, lately Tom Cruise called Matt Laurel who was interviewing him for Today show a glib. [режим доступа : www.youtube.com] That came so unexpectedly that ever since this word is used to indicate something that is absolutely out of place and does not make any sense. However, not all words which were misused or misspelled by well-known-people become slang. As mentioned in the book ‘Bushisms’ edited by Jacob Weisberg 43d president of USA George W. Bush is famed for adding new syllables and dropping the existing ones like in one of his speeches: “What a good man the Englers are!” [Weisberg 2001 : 12] However, these sort of words are not recognized as slang. Abbreviation. Slang is often formed by abbreviation which means that already existing words are shortened and sometimes brought together. It stresses out that people who use these expressions belong to the same social group and understand the subject of discussion without saying the words up to the end. For example, among Californian wine experts, Cabernet Sauvignon might be known as "Cab Sav", Chardonnay as "Chard" and so on. This means that naming the different wines expends less superfluous effort. It also makes a certain secret code for the connoisseurs. Another illustration of that would be ‘bod’ for body and ‘fab’ for fabulous, although these two are so popular now days that could be hardly referred to as slang. [Croft 2000 : 6]Abbreviation as a form of slang forming is extremely popular among the computer-users. Such terms originally appeared to save the keystroke. Many people use them for text messaging as well. We believe it is worth to split internet slang abbreviation into three groups according to the way the word was abbreviated and its purpose in speech. A lot of time English words are spelled a whole lot differently from the way they sound. It makes a certain complication whenever people participate in online chat rooms. So to save their time and energy they decided to use a certain system of abbreviation, which allows communicating faster. It is easy to understand because it uses numbers to substitute some of the sounds and omit the letters which make no sound. According to this system the phrase ‘See you later’ would like ‘C u l8er’. A lot of times to save the keystroke ‘I’ is written as ‘i’ and the words in the beginning of the sentence are not capitalized. The second way to form computer slang is pure abbreviation, when only the first letters are used. For example, ‘TTYL’ stands for ‘Talk to you later’, ‘LOL’ – ‘Laugh Out Loud’, ‘LMHO’ – ‘Laugh My Head Off’. It is quite interesting to that some of these expressions transfer from the group of computer slang just to the group of regular (spoken) slang. The most popular one here is, probably ‘lol’. In oral form it sounds either like ‘lol’ or ‘el-oh-el’. The third type of computer slang can exist only in the written form and that might be a reason for arguing whether it does or does not belong to slang. We consider emoticons (also known as smileys) to be the third type of computer-based slang. Emoticons are becoming one of the most popular ways to express one’s emotions in the chat room or when text-messaging, without the explicit way to spell them out. They are represented as a short sequence of printable characters which are used to resemble a facial expression and convey an emotion. The two styles of emoticons are Asian and Western. Asian emoticons were originated in East Asia, and are very vaguely popular in European world. A face in this style would like ‘ ^_^ ‘, where the carets representing the eyes, and the underscore a mouth. The Western type emoticons are more popular because they give an ability to express a bigger range of emotions. The basic happy face would look like :) where the colon or number 8 represents the eyes and the parenthesis the mouth. However, using a bracket for the smile in the face so it looks like :] is gaining widespread popularity. A great variety of emotions could be displayed by emoticons, such as 8D, =), =D, =>), >=D,:p, |=[, >8), >XD, |8[,8-0, ;-), etc. In order to recognize the emotion more easily one needs to tilt his head to the right. [режим доступа : http://hubpages.com/hub/slang_and_what_they_really_mean]Borrowed slang. Slang words or even the whole expressions could be borrowed from foreign languages. As it was already mentioned slang is usually first recognized by a certain group, which could also be a social minority. We believe it is one of the reasons of the blooming of slang in the USA. People from the same country had to join together in order to survive. In addition to some slang expressions which were taken from their own language some new words and expressions were formed. Gradually the difference between these words faded away and a new subdivision of slang was formed. To illustrate this aspect we took a closer look at the Italian American Slang which is popular in the area of New Jersey and New York since the amount of immigrant of Italian origin is bigger there than anywhere else in the USA. In most cases such kind of slang words are derived from southern Italian dialects, such as Neapolitan, which tend to make the sound [c] sound like [g], and vice versa. Likewise, [p] tends to become a [b] and [d] transmute into a [t] sound. Examples of such slang would be the following expressions: ’goombah’ – a derogatory term for Italians (a great change of the meaning is obvious; ‘comare’ in Italian is godmother); ‘managot’ is a type of Italian pasta (‘manicotti’ in Italian), ‘what a jooch!’ stands for ‘what a donkey!’ (in Italian donkey is ‘ciuccio’). A lot of words in Italian slang indicate food, which show that Italians are not approving national Italian food becoming more famous as fast-food. Not only from various foreign cultures could be the slang expressions borrowed. Some of them have been taken from the infants’ speech. We believe it is a certain attempt to mask the real meaning and make it sound more innocent to the non-group members, since quite often slang fills in for the tabooed notions related to drugs, sex, etc. Illustration to this would be a ‘booboo’ for a mistake and a ‘bimbo’ (which is considered rather offensive) for a young woman considered sexually attractive but of limited intelligence. Alternation.Alternation is usually the way by which the whole slang language systems are formed. Words in the letters get replaced with other letters or switch their positions, which changes almost completely the way the word sound. The original meaning of the word is masked, yet not changed. The slang is the most fast developing part of any modern language. Not only slang itself is the changing and developing with a great speed. We believe the same could be said about the ways it is formed. New ways and methods to form slang expressions could emerge as each language user could shape this sublanguage according to his or her liking. This helps it to be as expressive as people need it to be, proving its expressiveness in conditions of modern English language. CHAPTER 2. PRACTICAL History of slangIn this part of our work we touched upon the history of slang and its vocabulary. As it was brought up slang has existed as long as formal language had. To illustrate our point we decided to turn to William Shakespeare, whose writings became recognized classics of literature and gave a great start to the development of the norms and standards of English language. On the other hand Shakespeare brought into acceptable usage such slang terms as hubbub, to bump, and to dwindle and many others. [режим доступа : www.wikipedia.com] Amongst them we chose an expression ‘to shuffle off the mortal coil’ which was used in the soliloquy of the main character of Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Hamlet’: ‘Ay, there's the rub,For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause.’ [Shakespeare 1992 : 96]‘To shuffle off this mortal coil’ means to die, ‘to divest oneself out of their mortal body’. [режим доступа : www.urbandictionary.com]The words are not used in their direct meaning: ‘to shuffle off’ means to take something off, usually referring to the clothes; archaic word ‘coil’ means to fuss, some meaningless routine events. Used together they form an expression with a completely new meaning which is transferred in a metaphorical way. The expression takes place of a conventional synonym – ‘to die’. Besides the expression was not commonly used by all members of society, only by a certain group of people who were able to comprehend works of Shakespeare, for example readers or the audience in the theatre. Based upon Bethany K. Dumas’ and Jonathan Lighter’s technique of identifying whether an expression is slang or not, which is mentioned in one of the previous chapters of our work, we see that the expression is slang, as it meets two out of four necessary criterions. Through times the expression was not commonly used, but was not forgotten either. Between the 1983 and 1991 even excited a dream pop music band in the United Kingdom which was named ‘This Mortal Coil’. To see how the slang language develops today we conducted a research. Our goal during the research was to see how English slang blends into the modern Russian language. About 100 students between the age of 15 and 24 from Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, and Yekaterinburg have participated in the survey. Surprisingly among the most famous expressions were not only ‘What’s up’ and ‘cool’, but also ‘OK’. This made us hesitate, because this expression is used so commonly in modern language that it could be hardly called slang. But we cannot but agree that it is true. Americans tell a story, how it became a part of modern English. President Lincoln had never gone to school and did not know how to write appropriately, so when he read through the documents he signed it ‘ok’ which said for ‘all correct’ (‘ol korert’ with poor spelling). The results of the survey also showed the most famous English slang expressions is ‘f**k + various articles’. However these expressions could be by no means considered slang as they are cuss words. Quite popular are such expressios as ‘nigga’ ‘b**ch’ which are offensive if addressed to somebody. This creates certain misunderstandings between the cultures and shows that Russian slang-users consider American slang hostile towards those who are not the group members. Nevertheless, English slang is used not only in the street life in order to survive. It also sort of spices up cartoons for children in order to entertain their parents without giving out whatever the author really means. For example, in a ‘Jellyfish Jam’ from Sponge Bob Series Garry the Snail moves his eyes in order to hypnotize angry jellyfish and Sponge Bob tells him: ‘Don’t stop shaking it!’ In the context of the cartoon it is absolutely harmless for a child’s comprehension. On the other hand, an adult, who will be watching it would get it as a joke with a slightly sexual context, as ‘shake it’ in slang means ‘to move hips during dancing’ [режим доступа: www.urbandictionary.com]. The conclusion to this is that certain steps should be taken to prevent this intercultural misunderstanding. We believe that in order to raise the slang literacy teenagers should engage more often into communication with their native-speaking peers. It would also help to bring several cultures together and the influence of to two languages would be reasonably positive. The principles of slang vocabulary organization In this chapter we take a close look at the way slang vocabulary is organized and formed. First we speak about the way how to identify if a particular word or expression is slang or not. We agree with Bethany K. Dumas and Jonathan Lighter who name four criterions for doing that. In order to be considered slang at least two of them should correspond with the undertaken word. As an example we would like to examine an expression from the novel ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kessey: ‘You oughta be out running around in a convertible, bird-dogging girls.’ [Kessey 1962 : 167] The phrase is used by the main character of the book – Randy McMurphy – in the conversation with the inhabitants of the mental hospital, where he currently resides. From the context we can assume that McMurphy is not an extremely well educated person. In fact, he used to earn his living by gambling and has been in many scrapes which made him visit special correctional facilities quite often. By his behavior he was trying to do his best to show how he disagrees with the rules of the society. From all of the above we see that the expression possesses all four traits mentioned by Dumas and Lighter. It is considerably lower in prestige than standard English and is used in a group of a low status displaying that they have a little power and responsibility for their words and actions (residents of the mental hospital are detach from the outer world). The stuff of the hospital does not use similar expression because it is not acceptable for them due to the higher social status. Finally, it stands for the sexually-related notion in order to mask it from the non-group people. Being an exemplar of English slang the expression is metaphorical, because the words are used not in their direct meanings. It would be pointless to try using the standard meaning in this context as it would turn the sentence into a complete nonsense even from the grammatical point of view, because originally the words ‘bird’ and ‘dog’ are nouns, however they have a contextual meaning of the verb. According to the Urban Dictionary, the expression ‘bird-dogging’ could be used in two circumstances: to describe a situation when one guy is stealing a girl from another one or to tell that someone is picking up girls (for example at the party). [режим доступа : www.urbandictionary.

Список литературы

При подготовке работы использовалась литература как на русском, так и на английском языке, исследования, посвященные как британскому, так и американскому сленгу, различные словари, в том числе специализированные по сленгу. В списке литературы 21 источник, в том числе 11 печатных и 10 интернет источников.
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